Today’s the day! You can finally get your hands on a copy of The Wake, my fourth psychological suspense novel. Kindle and paperback will be published on the 27th of October, with the audiobook to follow in 2021. Click here to preorder your copy!
I also wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about my fourth novel. It’s one I’m really proud of, as I feel like I have learned a lot on this journey, and The Wake is a book which really challenged me as a writer.
The story is told from five viewpoints: The Celebrant, The Daughter, The Mistress, The Daughter-in-Law, and The Deceased himself. I chose these chapter headings instead of the character’s names because I wanted to show how one of the characters, The Deceased, ties the rest of them together.
Before writing The Wake, I had never written five viewpoints before. My debut, The Diary, had Lauren as the single narrator; The Girl Across the Street had two, Isla and Beth. And Girl, Lost had three, Imogen and Emily in the present, and Freya in the past. I had also never written a book that focused on such a short period of time. Almost the entirety of the story takes place during the funeral (and wake) of Richard Asquith, so The Wake really was my most ambitious novel to date!
I came up with the idea while I was at a funeral in December 2019. This might seem macabre, but I wasn’t actively looking for a book idea. I’ve been to numerous funerals in my life, and I have always been struck by the way in which they are conducted. A funeral is a particular type of story, in a way, as they paint a very specific picture of the deceased, and that picture is often biased. When I spoke to the lovely Isabel Russo from Humanists UK about the role of a celebrant, she told me that, quite frankly, the person paying the bill is the one who sets the tone of the funeral. Celebrants (both the religious and non-religious kind) are not obliged to speak to other family members about the deceased, and the aim is not to give a balanced overview of their lives. It is almost always spun in a positive way, but this can have a ripple effect on the people left behind.
My nan, to whom the book is dedicated, wanted a Humanist celebrant to lead her funeral, and I remember feeling more comfortable without the mention of any deity. Nobody in our family has ever been particularly religious, and yet so many of them have had a religious funeral, which continues to surprise me. I wanted to make it clear that having a non-religious service is an option for those who want one.
Although the events in The Wake are entirely fictional, I did draw some inspiration from real funerals I have attended, and the characters also have tiny segments of truth in them. Skye’s relationship with her father is loosely based on my mum and her father, and the funeral I attended in December really did have a live-stream for those who could not make it. At the time, it seemed like an oddity, but since Covid-19 struck, I imagine such live-streams are being utilised more and more.
That brings me onto the disclaimer, which is also in the acknowledgements at the back of the book. I wrote The Wake before the world changed so drastically in March and restrictions were placed on funerals and gatherings. I had hoped that things might have changed again by the time the book was published, but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. I hope the structure of this book does not cause any upset to readers who have been affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.
So, there we are! A little insight into The Wake, my fourth psychological suspense novel. Early reviews have been promising, but as ever, I am a mixture of nerves and excitement as publication day draws nearer. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. And don’t forget to check out The Bandwagon, where I write about all things from fiction to beauty to chronic illness. You can read my author spotlight here too!